Illegal street racing in Richmond prompts warning from Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office

Rosie Nguyen Image
Tuesday, July 19, 2022
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The Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office is warning drivers participating in illegal street racing after a cell phone video shows dozens of people on the sidelines of a street race in Richmond on Sunday night.

RICHMOND, Texas (KTRK) -- The Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office is warning drivers participating in illegal street racing after a cell phone video shows dozens of people on the sidelines of a street race in Richmond on Sunday night.

Cars could be seen zipping down Clouston Avenue and leaving behind skid marks before deputies showed up and prompted the crowd to disperse.

"It's a crime of opportunity like most crimes are. They find the area, they have scouts that go out, looking for places to do it. Then they call them and they all rush to that area," Sheriff Eric Fagan said.

Investigators said they received three calls shortly after 11 p.m. about an incident near a shopping center by Grand Parkway. Ultimately, deputies decided not to chase after the cars that fled from the scene.

Fagan said with people living nearby in the Aliana neighborhood, it was a conscious decision he agrees with.

"My officers used their discretion and I think they did the wisest thing. These race drivers are reckless already. So we don't want to start chasing them and then they run into somebody's yard or hit someone outside," he said.

Events like this can have deadly consequences. Three months ago in Harris County, Houston police busted a street takeover on Kempwood Drive, where drivers could be seen performing dangerous stunts in their trucks and cars. They said Damian West allegedly fled from the scene, hit multiple vehicles, and killed one of the innocent people inside.

READ ALSO: Exclusive video shows illegal street takeover moments before suspect leads deadly police chase

"Recent research from the AAA Foundation for traffic safety found that even modestly higher speeds at the time of a crash dramatically increase the chances of severe injury and death, as well as cancel out benefits of vehicle safety features like airbags. Illegal street racing is like speeding on steroids, leading to tragic avoidable deaths and injuries on our roadways," Joshua Zuber, spokesperson for AAA Texas, said.

In October 2021, the Harris County Sheriff's Office reported that cases of illegal street racing increased by 330% from January to August when comparing that time period between 2020 and 2021. ABC13 has submitted a request for updated numbers for 2022 and is waiting to hear back.

Statewide, TxDOT numbers show that speed-related fatalities went up 7% from 2020 to 2021.

READ ALSO: Harris Co. street racing incidents nearly triple year-to-date during first 8 months of 2021

"It obviously is more than just numbers. It's more than just statistics. It's someone's life or lives that are forever impacted and changed," Zuber said.

Fagan said while they don't often receive calls about illegal street racing in Fort Bend County, it's a crime they don't take lightly. He encourages the public to help them crack down on these cases, explaining that timing is key and no tip is too small for them to investigate.

"When they see a group start hanging around, revving engines in a parking lot, usually late at night. Call us as soon as possible so we can get units out there," he said.

Furthermore, Zuber said people who participate in street racing are often young drivers and encourages parents to keep an eye on their loved ones.

"If you see, as parents or guardians, performance enhancement auto parts, you may want to start asking questions like, 'Where are you driving?' or 'What are these parts for?'" he said. "Also, if you see these types of activities on social media, don't 'like' them. That could encourage this type of dangerous behavior."

To report illegal street racing incidents in Fort Bend County, you can contact the Sheriff's Office non-emergency number at (281) 341-4665.

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